COMBINED ARMS TEAM
5- 1. General.
The air assault task force commander uses combat support elements to enhance the combat power of his maneuver elements. Knowing combat support capabilities, assigning them appropriate missions, and controlling their operations are essential to the application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place. The AATFC's key role in integrating combat support elements with his maneuver elements, to form the combined arms team, is critical for success in the AirLand Battle.
5-2. Employment of combat support.
a. Combat support elements. They are normally under OPCON or in DS of the AATF in order to ensure the close coordination and continuous, dedicated support required in air assault operations.
b. Determining task organization. The AATFC assigns an element that is attached, under OPCON, or in DS, to one of his subordinate maneuver units when he feels the element could be more effectively controlled or employed by one particular unit, rather than under AATF control. General support is used when the combat support element can best support the operation under centralized control to quickly shift its efforts to the point needed (for example, mortars that are normally used in a general;support role) and when the situation is vague or changing.
c. Basic responsibility to support, No matter what support status the combat support elements are assigned, the AATFC has the responsibility to ensure the combat support units are properly supported by the AATF. Although the AATFC is not required to provide support under the status of DS, GS, or OPCON, it is to his advantage to ensure the CS elements are properly supported. This means providing rations, fuel, and ammunition as required. It also means expediting repair of equipment outside the capabilities of the AATF maintenance unit, The advantage of doing this is to ensure the CS elements are able to continue providing support.
d. Relationship to the AATF staff. The commander of the combat support unit must be both a commander and a special staff officer. This means he commands his unit and provides advice and assistance to the AATFC. He serves as a special staff officer during the planning phase of an operation, providing assistance and advice in the preparation of the operation order. He can also provide advice and assistance during the conduct of the operation, but this is limited since his primary concern is command of his unit.
a. Fire support is the collective and coordinated employment of mortars, field artillery, attack helicopters, close air support, naval gunfire, and other fires in support of battle plans. The mission of the fire support system is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress surface targets in support of air assault operations. It includes suppression of enemy air defenses which is imperative for air assault operations.
b. The AATFC integrates the firepower of mortars, field artillery, close air support, EW, and, when available, naval gunfire, with the maneuver of combat units to defeat the enemy. Fire support enhances the AATF's combat power by:
(1) Destroying, suppressing, and neutralizing targets.
(2) Obscuring the vision of enemy forces.
(3) Isolating enemy formations and positions.
(4) Slowing and canalizing enemy movements.
(5) Killing or disabling the enemy at ranges greater than that of direct fire weapons.
(6) Screening with smoke or creating obstacle areas with the employment of scatterable mines.
(7) Reducing the effects of enemy artillery by active counterfire.
(8) Interdicting follow-on enemy echelons.
(9) Providing illumination.
c. To effectively utilize the fire support assets, the AATFC must have an understanding of the field artillery support relationship. The artillery force commander is the fire support coordinator for the AATF, and the fire support officer is the assistant FSCOORD. Each AATF is provided a fire support element, led by an FSO, from the direct support battalion. In those instances when the AATF is operating independently, it may be necessary to attach an artillery unit (battery or battalion) to provide adequate fire support. Attachment is a nonstandard mission and involves special considerations for the AATF, such as the responsibility to provide security, logistical support, and lift capability to the artillery unit.
e. Appendix F includes a discussion of specialized training required for support of air assault operations.
5-4. The fire support coordinator.
While the AATFC is responsible for the integration of all fires with the maneuver plan, the FSCOORD is his principal assistant for the proper integration and application of fire support. Working together as a team, the supported commander and the FSCOORD generate the maximum combat power available to support the ground forces.
5-5. Fire support delivery systems.
The AATF is unique in its mission and organization and so are its support elements. They are specifically tailored to be integrated into the AATF. The indirect fire assets must be light and maneuverable and capable of maintaining the fast pace of the AATF. The fire support delivery means available to the AATF may include:
a. Mortars. Organic to each infantry battalion, they are used to provide close-in direct fire support.
b. Artillery. Supporting artillery must either be positioned well forward to provide fires from the PZ to the objective area, or must be air lifted with the AATF to the objective area.
c. Air defense artillery. Supporting air defense artillery can be called upon to provide direct fire support when the situation demands and the commander so directs.
d. Close air support. In most cases, United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft will be available to provide close air support. Requests for these aircraft are processed through the TAC CP collocated with the AATF.
e. Naval gunfire. Navy cruisers and destroyers provide fire support in coastal areas. Naval gunfire spotters from a United States Marine Corps (USMC) air and naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO) may be attached to the AATF to control these fires.
f. Attack helicopters. Because of their mobility and firepower, attack helicopters may be integrated into the fire support plan when conventional field artillery is not available.
FIRE SUPPORT PLANNING AND COORDINATION
a. Fire support planning addresses how fire support is to be used to support maneuver forces. Fire support coordination entails those actions needed to implement plans and manage resources on the battlefield. Although planning and coordination are separated, they overlap and are mutually supporting. If the planning has been done well, the implementation (coordination) will give the commander the support he needs to win. For a discussion of fire support planning and coordination, see Chapter 3, FM 6-20.
b. The planning and coordination process begins when the mission is received or assumed. The AATFC, S3, and the FSO interact throughout the planning sequence, the decision process, and the execution of the mission.
At the AATF level, the FSO advises the AATFC on how fire support can best influence the operation. He performs the planning and coordination of fire support assets to include mortars, field artillery, close air support, and naval gunfire. The fire support element (FSE) and fire support team (FIST) provide personnel for continuous planning and coordination of support fires.
a. AATF fire support element. The fire support element at each AATF (battalion-size) consists of an FSO, assistant FSO, fire support sergeant, and fire support specialists. The FSE, AATF S3 Air, and advisers from the other fire support means are collocated within the AATF TOC for the planning and coordination of fire support. The FSE coordinates and works closely with the brigade FSE, and FSEs of other battalions, the DS field artillery battalion fire direction center (FDC), and S2 and S3, the tactical air control party, aviation liaison officer, S3 Air, the mortar platoon leader, engineer platoon leader, and the company fire support teams. The FSO supervises the operations of the FISTS.
b. Company fire support team. The company fire support team and the forward observer (FO) section provide the fire support planning and coordination for maneuver companies and platoons. The FISTs are provided by the DS FA battalion. Occasionally, firepower control teams for naval gunfire (NGIN and naval air, and forward air controllers for USAF CAS collocate at the company FIST to advise and assist in the use of their assets. The FIST is supervised by an FA lieutenant who serves as the company commander's fire support officer.
5-8. Fire support planning.
The planning process determines how fire support will be used: what types of targets will be attacked, when, and with what means. It is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the unexpected in combat. Integrated fire support can result only when the FSCOORD is an aggressive contributor to the AATFC's planning sequence and decision making process.
a. The depth and detail of fire support planning depend on how much time is available. Many of the actions that occur in response to battle situations are established in SOPs and in fragmentary orders (FRAGO).
b. Fire support planning is continuous and concurrent at all levels. During the battle, planning is concurrent with fire support coordination to implement the fire support plan on the battlefield.
c. The fire support plan outlines the way artillery, mortars, close air support, and naval gunfire are used to complement the scheme of maneuver, and provides instructions for executing those fires. It also details the use of AATF target acquisition assets. It prioritizes targets, matches them with the available fire support systems, and allows fires to be executed quickly (without specific direction from the commander) once the operation starts. An AATF fire support plan should include:
(1) A detailed concept of how fires support the air assault operation from the initial PZ to the final objective.
(2) A target list that includes locations where fires are expected or likely to be used.
(3) A priority of fires telling which element receives fire in case of conflict (for example, priority of FA fires to Team A; mortar fires to Team B).
(4) Target attack priorities establishing which type of mission to fire first in case of conflict (for example, first priority to enemy air defense systems; second priority to assist disengagements).
(5) An allocation of priority targets to indirect fire assets, if designated.
(6) Firing schedules for the indirect fire weapon systems. This planning tool identifies who fires the mission, when it occurs, and the nature of fires (for example, family of scatterable mines, smoke, SEAD preparations).
(7) Informal airspace coordination areas (ACA).
(8) Coordination measures for providing troop safety and promoting synchronization of supporting fires.
d. During the planning of fire support for an air assault operation, the FSO must consider displacement. When FA can support the AATF from a secure area (without displacement forward of the forward edge of the battle area [FEBA]), it does so. If such support is not feasible, the FSO determines if other fire support is sufficient to accomplish the mission. If other support is not sufficient, it may be necessary to displace the FA into the objective area. When the decision to displace is made, consider that:
(1) Displacement is accomplished by echelon to prevent temporary loss of FA support.
(2) Field artillery requires security in the objective area.
(3) Cargo helicopters are required to displace the FA unit.
(4) Ammunition resupply is made by air.
(5) The FA depends on helicopter assets for mobility unless prime movers are lifted into the objective area.
(6) Supporting, towed artillery (M198 or lighter) must be available.
e. The fire support plan is developed by the FSO with assistance and input from the Air Force LO, FISTS, heavy mortar platoon leader, S2, and S3. A fire plan is constantly refined or modified as the operation continues. Thus, the fire support plan facilitates responsive fires to the AATF wherever they are needed.
f. A formal and/or informal planning approach at the AATF level is a combined process that uses the principles of both formal (downward) and informal (upward) planning. Initially, the AATF FSO disseminates, in the operation order, a fire support plan to support the AATF. This product usually contains all the elements listed above. The FSO plan is modified as company and/or FIST fire plans are received. The rewritten fire plan is disseminated to each weapon system for execution.
g. To facilitate fire planning, company FSOs normally accompany team commanders to the AATF OPORD briefing. This permits the company FSOs to hear the operational concept simultaneously with their commander. Within minutes after the OPORD, they can get together to develop their fire support plans. This arrangement also allows the AATF FSO to brief the company FSOS on plans the AATFC wants implemented. Written fire plans can be disseminated. Questions can be answered quickly and conflicts can be resolved with minimum confusion.
h. Suppression of enemy air defense is a critical task in fire support to ensure success of the air assault operation and must be planned. Lift helicopters are especially vulnerable to enemy air defenses. Unless there are overriding tactical considerations, enemy air defense is always suppressed. The AATF FSO ensures that all flight routes and suspected enemy ADA sites are targeted with preplanned fires. Suppression of enemy air defense may be executed either as scheduled fires based upon a specific time schedule, or may be fired "on call," based upon the movement of the AATF through predetermined zones or across predetermined phase lines. The FSO is normally located with the AATFC and requires a dedicated fire direction net; he will control the lifting and/or shifting of SEAD fires as directed by the AATFC. Attack helicopter elements providing air assault security will suppress enemy ADA encountered en route. The attack battle team captain should select overmatch positions or fly escort along the flight route to provide immediate suppressive fires. For a complete discussion of these techniques, see FM 6-20.
i. The fire support plan may include any of the following categories of fire designed to complement the AATFC's operation:
(1) Planned fires on known or suspected enemy locations, avenues of approach, supply routes, and suspected weapons locations.
(2) On-call fires (prearranged fires that are requested).
(6) Artillery delivered smoke (obscuration or screening).
(8) Suppression fire.
(9) Scatterable mines (FASCAM can be delivered only when 155-mm howitzer systems are available to the AATF).
a. Effective fire support depends on decentralized execution and coordination. Based upon the AATFC's intent for using fire support, the FSO and FISTs execute the plan during the operation with minimum specific instruction. The FSO's coordination includes all actions required to make the plan work. He:
(1) Ensures the DS battalion FDC, the mortar platoon FDC, and any other supporting elements have the correct fire support plan and understand their portion of it.
(2) Verifies that the AATF mortars are in position to support, if available and required.
(3) Keeps fire support representatives at higher headquarters and the supporting field artillery TOC informed of the current tactical situation.
(4) Selects fire support means to attack targets during the operation.
(5) Keeps the AATF commander and S3 informed of the current status of fire support means available to the AATF.
(6) Recommends modifications of the fire support plan (during the operation) to react to battlefield changes, and ensures FISTs are aware of changes.
(7) Recommends, to the AATFC and/or S3, fire support coordinating measures to facilitate the attack of targets or to provide troop safety.
(8) Coordinates requests for additional fire support with higher level fire elements.
(9) Monitors execution of the fire support plan.
b. The FSO ensures that the plan developed remains supportable and must immediately inform the AATFC if there is not enough fire support allocated to make the plan work, or if changes are dictated in the plan. To do this, he is forward with the command group during the conduct of the operation. He normally flies with the AATFC when a C2 helicopter is used.
c. The FSO keeps abreast of the tactical situation and coordinates all fire support impacting in his zone, including that requested by the AATF. He ensures that fires do not jeopardize troop safety, interfere with other fire support means, or disrupt adjacent unit operations. In this coordination, the FSO can utilize fire support coordinating measures.
d. During the conduct of the operation, shifts in priorities of fire, changes to the fire plan to support a changed scheme of maneuver, and immediate CAS are all handled forward by the FSO and ALO with the command group. The FSE at the TOC continues its planning responsibilities and provides backup support to the command group.
e. TheFSO,inconjunctionwiththeS3Air,coordinatesthefirecontrolactivitiesof the air assault task force (Figure 5-1).
Figure 5-1. Fire control net.
f. Allaviatorsaretrainedtocallforandadjustindirectfires.Airreconnaissanceor attack helicopter unit aeroscouts may be particularly valuable in assisting the AATFC and the FSO in coordinating or adjusting indirect fires because they are normally in the best position to see the battlefield.
ARTILLERY AIR ASSAULT OPERATIONS
The AATF fights both offensive and defensive battles. Its organizational tactics, emphasizing aerial mobility and flexibility, require special planning considerations for employment. As discussed in Section III, the FSCOORD plans (with the AATFC) to support the ground tactical plan. In planning to support the air assault operations, the FSCOORD considers:
a. Range for artillery and other fire support systems. With the extended distances anticipated, the challenge for the FSCOORD is to position fire support systems so that they can range (place fire) and mass (concentrate fire) on targets within the AATF area of operations. When the AATF must operate out of artillery range, there is a greater dependence on CAS, attack helicopters, and mortars.
b. Importance of the target. Artillery is positioned to range those targets considered critical to the maneuver commander. For high value targets, the commander and the FSCOORD may consider moving artillery by helicopter to strike deep in the enemy's rear by firing across-FLOT raids or displacing laterally in sector.
c. Airlift assets. The mobility of the 105-mm direct support artillery battalion is one of its major characteristics. In taking advantage of its mobility to weight the operation, the commander must consider the cost of aircraft assets. To reposition the firepower of the DS battalion by air will normally require one aircraft (UH-60 or CH-47) per howitzer. The CH-47D can slingload two or more M1028 simultaneously. Additional aircraft must be committed to movement of vehicles and supplies necessary to support the mission.
d. Risk in crossing lines. A major consideration in planning air assault artillery operations is the risk in crossing enemy lines. The value of the target is weighed against the chances of survivability. Once the risk of crossing lines is considered, the FSCOORD must evaluate the survivability of the unit on the ground and during extraction.
e. Target location. For air assault operations, accurate LZ and target locations are essential. Accuracy of locations determines accuracy of fires and often targets will be engaged with unobserved fires.
f. Pickup zone and/or landing zone. Artillery displacements require PZs and LZs large enough to position equipment. When the unit arrives at the LZ, it must be secured and capable of supporting the unit that will most likely use the LZ as a firing point.
g. Ammunition. The amount of ammunition to be made available has a major impact on artillery support. When planning indirect fire support, the FSCOORD must consider the amount of ammunition required and the availability of transportation assets. Artillery ammunition supply operations will place a significant burden on aviation assets available to the AATF.
h. Communications. In the employment of field artillery, the ability to maintain communications is a requirement. The supporting unit must be within radio range of the supported unit to receive the call for fire (this is of particular concern when positioning the M198 with its maximum range of 30 kilometers). Unless unavoidable, the firing batteries must be within communications range of their parent battalion.
i. Security. The AATF artillery must rely on either terrain positioning or attachment of infantry to provide for security. The need for security forces is essential when FA units accompany the AATF across-FLOT.
The artillery supporting the AATF should be organized with capabilities to match the needs peculiar to air assault operations.
a. The type of howitzer likely to participate in air assault operations is the towed 105-mm howitzer. Characteristics of the weapon, and 105-mm-equipped units, are listed below:
(1) Responsive. Capable of a high rate of fire.
(2) Lightweight. Capable of external slingload by the UH-60 and CH-47 helicopters.
(3) Easily sustainable. Towed artillery is less prone to downtime because it is not tied to a self-propelled carriage. It has reduced logistics requirements for a prescribed load list (PLL) and petroleum, oil, lubricants (POL) than self-propelled artillery.
(4) Lack of crew protection. The crews of towed howitzer batteries are especially vulnerable to direct and indirect fire. With no armor protection, the battery can expect heavy losses if engaged by the enemy.
(5) Position security. The mission of the field artillery is to provide indirect fires. FA is not designed with the capability to defend itself against a significant threat that may be encountered in across-FLOT air assault operations.
(6) Limited range. The 105-mm howitzer has a maximum range of 11,500 meters (15,100 with rocket assisted projectiles). The AATF can rapidly outdistance its supporting artillery.
(7) Caliber. The 105-mm howitzer is the smallest caliber howitzer in the Army inventory with a shell-burst radius of 35 meters.
(8) Ammunition. The 105-mm howitzer is limited to conventional munitions (high explosive [HE], illumination [ILLUM], improved conventional munitions [ICM], white phosphorus [WP], smoke [HC]) with limited chemical capability. The FASCAM is not available except to 155-mm howitzer equipped units.
b. TheMI98howitzermayalsobeavailableforsupportofairassaultoperations.1t is a 155-mm towed howitzer with a maximum range of 18,100 meters (30,000 meters with rocket assisted projectiles [RAP]). The M198 is movable by CH-47 C&D model aircraft. The 155-mm has a greater versatility in ammunition (HE, ILLUM, ICM, WP, HC, remote antiarmor mine system [RAAMS], area denial artillery munition [ADAM], dual-purpose improved conventional munitions [DPICM], chemical, nuclear [NUC]) with a bursting radius of 50 meters.
NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT
When operating near a coastline, naval gunfire support may be available to the AATF. Naval guns can provide high-volume, long-range, and accurate fires employing a variety of ammunition.
5-l3. Air and naval gunfire liaison company.
The ANGLICO provides ship-to-shore communications and fire control teams to adjust fire. In the absence of ANGLICO fire control teams, the AATF FISTS, aerial field artillery forward observers, or attack helicopter unit aeroscouts, may call for and adjust fires through the AATF ANGLICO team. See Appendix F, FM 6-20 for discussion for naval gunfire support.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE TACTICAL AIR SUPPORT
The USAF support for the AATF normally includes tactical air reconnaissance, close air support, and tactical airlift. The AATF staff, in coordination with the air liaison officer, plans, integrates, and coordinates the Air Force support for air assault operations. Requests for air support are processed and discussed in Appendix E, FM 6-20.
5-15. Joint air attack team.
a. The joint attack air team (JAAT) is a combination of US Army attack helicopters and US Air Force close support aircraft (normally A-10 jet tactical aircraft) operating together to locate and attack high priority, lucrative targets. The JAAT normally operates in concert with field artillery or mortars, air defense artillery, and ground maneuver forces. Information flowing between the AATFC, the attack helicopter team leader, and the forward air controller (FAC) optimizes the effectiveness of attack helicopter teams and attack fighter flights in destroying the enemy force.
b. The JAAT can provide the AATFC with a highly mobile, extremely lethal tank-killing force capable of engaging enemy forces beyond the range of other antitank weapons. The JAAT can destroy or disrupt enemy formations and provide vital intelligence about enemy strengths and locations. By simultane ously employing attack helicopters and A-10s against the same target array at the same time, the AATFC increases the lethality and survivability of both systems.
c. When a JAAT is approved and is in direct support of an AATF, it is controlled by the AATFC. Otherwise, it is controlled by the attack helicopter commander or team leader who reports to brigade headquarters.
In the mid- to high-intensity environments, air assault operations normally require either local air parity or local air superiority. Since the number and type of air defense systems that can accompany the AATF is limited, and because helicopters are vulnerable to attacking aircraft, a great reliance must be placed on friendly air forces for air defense protection. Additionally, the AATF must optimize the employment of organic air defense weapons and maximize the use of passive defense measures.
5-17. Air defense standard tactical missions.
a. Air defense artillery unit missions are assigned using ADA standard tactical missions. These missions are much like those assigned the field artillery (to include support responsibilities for an ADA unit). They also establish support relationships to the supported unit or to another ADA unit.
b. The missions are general support, general support-reinforcing, reinforcing, and direct support. However, an AATF normally receives an ADA element in DS for close and continuous support. The ADA unit leader positions his weapons as necessary to properly support the AATF. The ADA may be attached, for movement, to infantry in order to facilitate control and security.
5-18. Air defense system.
Air defense protection for the AATF (within friendly lines) is provided by TACAIR and all elements of the ADA systems (Hawk, Patriot, Chaparral, Vulcan, Redeye, and Stinger). When the AATF penetrates enemy-held territory, air defense comes from ADA assets that can be displaced by helicopter. Due to weight restrictions, air defense forward of the FEBA is limited to organic Redeyes, Stingers, and Vulcans (towed). Although the towed Vulcan can be moved by UH-60, the prime mover must be displaced by CH-47. The Vulcan battalion has FM radios, and due to the extended distances between the Vulcan battery command post and the platoon elements (when it is attached to the AATF), the battery may require long-range AATF communication facilities.
5-19. Control and communications.
Air defense fire is controlled using the rules of engagement (determining type of aircraft and whether it is friend or foe) and weapons control status established by higher headquarters. Team leaders are responsible for deciding whether an aircraft is hostile or friendly. Weapons control status describes the relative degree with which the fires of air defense (AD) systems are managed. They are:
a. Weapons free. They may fire at aircraft not positively identified as friendly.
b. Weapons tight. They fire only at aircraft positively identified as hostile according to announced hostile criteria.
c. Weapons hold. They do not fire except in self defense or in response to formal orders.
5-20. Air defense priorities.
a. Priorities for air defense within the AATF are established by the AATFC. The senior air defense officer provides advice and makes recommendations based on his analysis of his area of operations to include the terrain, the high performance aircraft, attack helicopter avenues of approach, and all of the assets within his area of operations. The AATFC determines his priorities based upon:
(1) The AATF mission.
(2) How critical the asset or unit is to the accomplishment of the AATF mission.
(3) How vulnerable the target is to air attack.
(4) How quickly it can resume operations after it has been attacked.
(5) The enemy's ability to attack the asset.
(6) Coverage provided by other air defense systems.
b. Air defense priorities must be established for all periods to include before and after an operation, and would typically include protection for:
(1) Helicopter laager and assembly areas.
(2) Helicopter refueling and rearming points.
Combat engineers are an integral part of the combined arms team. Engineers possess the skills and equipment necessary to enhance friendly mobility and survivability, to counter the mobility of opposing forces, and to accomplish general engineer work. The engineers provide technical expertise and special equipment; the maneuver unit normally provides the required manpower.
a. Categories of support. Combat engineers provide four categories of support: mobility, countermobility, survivability, and general engineering.
(1) Mobility. Engineers reduce or eliminate the effects of obstacles to improve movement of maneuver forces and critical supplies. In support of air assault operations, engineers assist mobility by constricting or expanding helicopter LZs, FARPS, low altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES), and landing strips, and by maintaining, repairing, and rehabilitating existing forward aviation maintenance sites.
(2) Countermobility. Engineers construct obstacles to reinforce terrain to delay, disrupt, and kill the enemy. Countermobility increases time for target acquisition and maximizes the effectiveness of direct and indirect fire systems.
(3) Survivability. This involves protective position development: developing earth berms, dug-in positions, and overhead protection to reduce the effectiveness of enemy fire. In air assault operations, this could include protection of aircraft and fuel facilities.
(4) General engineering. These engineer missions do not directly contribute to the mobility, countermobility, and survivability of committed maneuver units. They are, however, essential for logistic support to include construction, improvement, and maintenance of rear area airfields.
b. Command and support relationships. The preferred engineer support relationship is DS; however, to conduct the air assault, engineers should be attached for movement only. During movement, engineers should be organized into squad-size elements and integrated into the air movement of infantry units. Once the movement is completed, the engineers should revert to DS and be task-organized no lower than platoon level.
5-22. Employment of engineer assets.
a. Engineer allocation to the brigade depends on METT-T, but will commonly be one company from the divisional combat engineer battalion. When requirements exceed the capabilities of one company, additional resources from either the division engineer battalion or support corps engineer units may be made available.
b. At the task force level, the number of engineer personnel and their relationship (to the TF) is dependent on METT-T. Even if no support relationship is established, engineers may have assigned missions in the AATF area and coordination must be maintained. This coordination is best effected by detailing an officer and a noncommissioned officer (NCO) from the supporting engineer company to the AATF for the duration of the operation.
c. How to use available assets is an important planning function.
(1) Plan and prioritize. The use of a scarce resource, such as combat engineers, must be carefully planned. The AATF engineer is part of the planning process from the beginning. The AATFC, S3, and the engineer work together to plan the use of the engineer assets and establish priorities. The engineer then advises the commander on how best to utilize assets based on time, personnel, equipment, and munitions available. A clear list of priority tasks is determined based on the AATFC's guidance and the engineer's recommendation.
(2) Integrate. The AATF commander ensures that the engineer effort is integrated into the scheme of maneuver and fire support plan. Fires, both direct and indirect, are planned to cover all obstacles. An obstacle placed where it cannot be covered by fire is a wasted effort. Therefore, the S3 ensures that he includes the FSO and engineer together in his planning effort. In addition, the AATFC and S3 direct the integration of AATF personnel into the accomplishment of all engineer work. Engineer assets must be placed well forward in the scheme of maneuver to assist the mobility of maneuver forces in the critical, early stages of attack.
(3) Control. The AATFC supervises the accomplishment of the engineer's mission as he prioritized it. Changes in the situation may require changes in the priority of engineer work and the AATFC and/or S3 communicate such changes to the engineer.
(4) Support. Mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks are the responsibility of the AATF, not the engineer. While the engineer unit will provide much of the manpower allocated to these functions, use of other elements is normal. An example is the use of infantry to construct obstacles under the supervision of an engineer. To allow all engineer assets to be used for engineer tasks, AATF combat elements usually provide security for the engineers. The CSS for the engineer unit is provided by the parent engineer unit, except when engineers are attached. Regardless of the command and support relationship, the AATF provides Class IV and Class V stores to support its engineer operations.
(5) Execute. The engineers accomplish their mission in support of the AATFC's scheme of maneuver.
d. Special considerations involve heavy equipment found in engineer battalions, other than air assault or airborne units, which is generally too heavy to be air assaulted. Plans must be made to link up with the equipment later in the operation. If air movable heavy equipment is available to the AATF, their capability is greatly increased; however, resupply of diesel fuel becomes an important planning consideration. Another consideration is the special equipment necessary to slingload engineer equipment (chain leg sets and A-22 bags). This equipment is not normally available from the aviation units but will be provided by the engineer units possessing air movable heavy equipment. When air movable heavy equipment is not available, engineers must be prepared to construct obstacles, barriers, and assist with survivability tasks, by employing hand tools, explosives, and field expedient methods.
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